What do you get when you combine innovative high school students from 40 local schools and specially designed robots engaging in gladiator-style competition? You have one of the coolest contests in Western Pennsylvania.
BotsIQ—the “smart sport”—is a fun and educational STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) competition in which students build custom robots to battle for the title of “Grand Champion.” This year’s finals were recently held at California University of Pennsylvania, and Clairton High School took the top prize.
BotsIQ was developed by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Tooling and Machining Association as a response to our region’s manufacturing workforce crisis. Right now, the local workforce population is aging, but there are not enough young, skilled workers to take their places or the new opportunities that are being created in this industry. BotsIQ is a chance for students to engage in the hands-on, problem-solving skills that could spark an interest in a STEM career.
Judges rate their favorite machines using criteria such as aggression, control, damage and strategy. And with categories such as “Coolest Bot,” “Best Engineered Bot” and “King of the Ring” there are a variety of opportunities for students to shine. Plus, participants also have a chance to win scholarships for education, training or tools for a career in manufacturing, the trades or engineering.
BotsIQ is more than just a competition. It’s an exciting way for young people to develop a highly desirable skill set as well as a means for our communities to address the needs of our local economy. So, no matter which machine takes the title, with BotsIQ we’re all winners.
Learn more about this fantastic STEM program by visiting www.botsiqpa.org.